Delivered by Craig Foster AM


Craig Foster AM, former Socceroos captain and now human rights advocate presents the UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture.

Despite calls of ‘togetherness’ and ‘shared humanity’, of the ‘interconnectedness’ of everyone in society in Australia and around the world during the height of COVID-19, the pandemic uncovered staggering inequality. With the burden of the pandemic falling disproportionately on women and front line workers and, along with a decaying aged care sector, victimisation of the poor and minority groups, ongoing trauma and deaths in custody of First Nations peoples, a failure of Parliamentary leaders to respond humanely to claims of sexual abuse and rape and the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, it is clear that society does not work for far too many and, presently, we are not 'all in this together'.

CraigFosterCraig explores a new social bargain with human rights at its core.

Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, the UniSA Nelson Mandela Lecture series promotes the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and the value of truth and reconciliation in life and public affairs. The series was established in 2008 to honour the late Nelson Mandela, who served as the Hawke Centre's First International Patron (2001-2013). 

Click here to purchase Craig's book: Fighting for Hakeem from Matilda Bookshop's website and choose Hawke Centre Events Free SA Postage as the delivery option. They will then deliver or post your book to you at no additional cost. 


Delivered by Craig Foster AM

Wednesday 20 April 2022, 6pm
Hall L - West Building,
Adelaide Convention Centre,
North Terrace, Adelaide
Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre



craig fosterFollowing a decorated football career as Australia’s 419th Socceroo and 40th Captain, Craig has become one of Australia's most respected sportspeople as a broadcaster, social justice advocate and human rights campaigner.

Craig represented Australia in the junior National Team at age 15 in the first FIFA Under 16 World Cup in China, 1985 where he was selected in the FIFA Team of the Tournament. He would later go on to represent Australia at senior level on 29 occasions including as Captain.

Following retirement, he quickly became one of Australia’s most respected sports broadcasters with an 18-year, triple Logie-winning career with Australia’s multicultural broadcaster, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) as part of The World Game (TWG) team which included five FIFA World Cups and four FIFA Women's World Cups as well as the UEFA Champions League, English Premier League and domestic competitions.

Craig's passionate commentary for the 2005 World Cup qualification playoff match against Uruguay at Australia Stadium, Sydney stands as one of the sport's most iconic broadcast moments and, along with Australia's Round of 16 match against Italy in 2006 and the Russia World Cup 2018, was celebrated with a Logie for Most Outstanding Sport Coverage.

A member of the Australian Multicultural Council under the Department of Home Affairs, Immigration and Citizenship division, Craig works across a vast range of social programs from indigenous rights and self-determination, homelessness and domestic violence, climate action and gender equality and is particularly well known for his refugee advocacy.

He is an Ambassador for Amnesty Australia, the Affinity Intercultural Foundation and Addison Road Community Centre including their #RacismNotWelcome campaign for Local Councils across Australia, Pushing Barriers, an Australia Committee member with Human Rights Watch, Advisory Council member of the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW and a Director of the Crescent Foundation.

A Strategic Advisor for Frontrunners, in 2020 he wrote to the Secretary-General of FIFA on behalf of 17 climate action and environmental groups urging the world governing body of football to utilise the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand to promote greater climate action from the world.

Craig developed a primary school initiative to facilitate an understanding of diversity with the Australian Government for Harmony Day, is a former Chairman and CEO, Life Member and PFA Champion of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), Australia’s representative body of the Socceroos, Matildas and professional players around the world where as Chair he oversaw the introduction of a gender equality and Indigenous representation quota at Board level, is a former Director of the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and has led a number of sport and business missions abroad with the NSW and Australian Government including the signing of a Sports collaboration with Brazil at MERCOSUR with then Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd.

His humanitarian activism extends to several, high profile campaigns including #SaveHakeem to free Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from a Thai prison for which he was a Finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission Medal, #GameOver to call for the resettlement and freedom of over 400 refugees and asylum seekers indefinitely detained by Australia in PNG, Nauru and in Australian hotels (Alternative Places of Detention) for over seven years and #PlayForLives which is a humanitarian response by sport to the COVID-19 pandemic which began in Australia and expanded internationally.

In 2020, Craig fasted during Ramadan with high profile members of the Australian Muslim community as an act of solidarity between religions and cultures as part of Australia's multicultural cohesion and in 2021, Craig fronted the #RacismNotWelcome campaign with the Inner West Multicultural Network of Sydney to confront, challenge and eradicate racism in Australia's local communities through collaboration with Local Government Areas (LGA's) including the City of Sydney.

He is a former columnist for the Sun Herald, author and co-author of several books including ‘Fighting for Hakeem’ by Hachette Australia, and writes for the Guardian, The Age and other publications and holds a Professional Coaching License and helped guide dozens of Australia's finest young female and male talents, many of whom graduated to Australia's National Teams.

In 2019, the Australian Financial Review recognised Craig as a ‘True Australian Leader’, the Sydney Morning Herald as one of the ‘People that Defined 2019', he was the recipient of the 2020 NSW Government Humanitarian Award for his work with sport and human rights, an Australian Human Rights Commission Medal finalist, was awarded the Australian Muslim Council 2020 Abyssinian Medal and was a finalist for the NSW 2021 Australian of the Year.

In 2021, Craig became a Member of the Order Of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours List which he dedicated to his refugee friends and former Manus Island detainees, Moz Azimitibar and Farhad Bandesh, and Hakeem al-Araibi as well as all refugees seeking safety around the world.

Craig holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Master’s Degree in International Sports Management and a Postgraduate Degree in Football Management.

Somehow, Craig was nominated as one of Australia's Best Dressed Men despite spending his life in ripped jeans and boardshorts and still plays football for the Waverley Old Boys Over 35's in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, Australia where he tries to forget he's now in his 50's.

Today, Craig advises on athlete activism for some of Australia's most prominent sportspeople and is an Adjunct Professor of Sport and Social Responsibility with Torrens University, Australia.

Twitter: @Craig_Foster
Facebook: @fozzfootball 
Former Socceroos Foster and Cahill recognised in Australia Day honours list
Game Over - Get People To Safety




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While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future.

The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.


While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.